"SDGs, Strategic Planning and Sustainable Partnerships: Lesson Learned in the UMAP Consortium"のご報告
Report on Session E
“SDGs, Strategic Planning and Sustainable Partnerships: Lesson Learned in the UMAP Consortium”
Director, UMAP International Secretariat, Vancouver Community College, Canada
Abdul Latiff Ahmad
Associate Professor, Director of UKM Global (International Relations Centre), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
A SIIEJ 2021 Session, “SDGs, Strategic Planning and Sustainable Partnerships: Lesson Learned in the UMAP Consortium,” was successfully held on August 27th, 2021. The session consisted of two parts; the first half of the session was led by Director Chelsey Laird, regarding its core values, and the latter half was led by Dr. Abdul Latiff Ahmad, an Associate Professor in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, to introduce several successful cases among UMAP member institutions working towards the SDGs.
University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) is a student mobility consortium comprising 23 countries/territories with over 200 higher education institutions. In 2021, as a result of COVID-19, a new strategic plan was implemented under the direction of the UMAP Chairperson and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in the Philippines and under the administrative leadership of the UMAP International Secretariat, currently being hosted by Vancouver Community College in Canada.
United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), consisting of 17 goals, are designed to eliminate poverty and corruption and promote humanitarian values by 2030. All of the goals are transdisciplinary and interlinked, and require a holistic approach that involves stakeholders at all levels. As an international consortium, it was inevitable yet challenging for the UMAP to set the common denominator that is universal, recognizable, and agreed to among 23 member countries. However, the board adopted a new UMAP strategic plan in 2021, which aims to establish a clear sustainable development framework for UMAP programs, aligning with the institution’s values of reciprocity, goodwill, and international cooperation.
The UMAP’s Strategic Plan 2021-25 pursues three specific Sustainable Development Goals; one of them is Quality Education, another is Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, and the other is Partnerships for the Goals. By striving for the goals, the UMAP will be able to strengthen partnerships among its members, make education more inclusive and responsive, and increase social mobility. The ongoing efforts to promote inclusion shall continue such as readjusting variety of current exchange programs, increasing online offerings (e.g., COIL program and Online Cross-registration program), and expanding scholarship opportunities.
As a task force, the UMAP Strategic Planning Committee works horizontally with the board and international secretariat. The international secretariat facilitates the overall stakeholder engagement and makes sure to keep such engagement aligned with the organizational values. In this regard, the international secretariat is working on initiating the Virtual Networking Partnership and Development. Also, the committee will set KPIs with tactics and metrics and take charge of assessment and reporting measures. The UMAP research fund currently supports the research centers in institutions in Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, and Malaysia, and the committee will update the status in the annual Board report.
Subsequently, the roles and responsibilities of higher education institutions were introduced in terms of knowledge, learning, demonstration, impact, and collaboration. Then, the successful cases of UMAP member institutions, incorporating SDGs in their programs, activities, social contributions, and engagement, were introduced. The model cases indicated that those institutions took a holistic approach to SDGs implementation. The majority of them first established a research center as the core of their work towards SDGs and then expanded the branches to specifically focus on finances, academic programs, rankings, community, infrastructures, student activities, talent development, mobility, teaching, learning, and research. At the institutional level, it is essential to build a multilateral network with trustable partners to create a cohesive, holistic university ecosystem. Moreover, by identifying the “SDGs focal point”, universities can play a critical role in identifying model achievements, tracking progresses, and organizing activities.
Y. N. (Regional Development Studies, Toyo University)